Owner’s note: I’m super proud of the team at WSW for the conscientious, intelligent conversation we’ve been having on this subject. The following has been contributed to by many of us.
After a thoughtful internal discussion, we’ve decided to change our tip policy. Since we opened in 2011, our no tip policy has been a defining aspect of WSW. We view massage as health care, and we strove to communicate that idea by declining tips. We also didn’t want people feeling obligated to tip if it was financially difficult.
A lot has changed since 2011, including the cost of living; the reality is that WSW massage therapists are contractors in the gig economy – everyone has multiple jobs, everything’s a hustle, and it’s all freelance or part time. Despite our continued conviction that bodywork is health care, we work in a service industry. Unlike other health care professionals, we don’t have benefit packages or sick days, and our income fluctuates throughout the year. Accepting tips from those who can afford to offer them is a way to buffer our income’s unpredictability.
So here’s our new policy: we graciously accept cash tips, but there is no obligation. You can also show your gratitude for our work by coming back as soon as you can, and telling everyone you know about us. In either case, we deeply appreciate your support. We do not expect tips from automobile (or other) insurance clients.
It’s important to us that you know we do our best work regardless of your ability or inclination to tip. We work in a service industry, but we view “service” in the highest sense of the word. It’s service in the same sense that doctoring, mentoring, teaching, nursing, volunteering, and guiding people through meditation are service: it is serving the greater good. When we perform a massage, we are serving the needs of another human being. This is an honor and a privilege. Thank you.